Twitter says no to IPO
A rumor about Twitter going public was squashed today by co-founder Biz Stone who insisted the social networking site was primarily focused on making money.
Nevertheless, the Financial Times had previously reported that JPMorgan Chase & Co. was planning to buy 10 percent of Twitter for around $450 million, putting the site’s value at approximately $45 billion.
But Stone rejected the rumors in an interview with Reuters saying, "[The report is] made up. We have so many other things before we even think about that."
"We are not even discussing it internally. It's too far off," Stone added, noting that Twitter had no plans to raise funds over the next 12 months.
Twitter has been in the spotlight since Facebook entered its own rounds of financing led by Goldman Sachs, placing the site at a projected value of around $50 billion.
According to Reuters, social networking sites are becoming more competitive with major websites like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo vying for advertising dollars. In the past, these mega sites have targeted competition by buying them out, which is why rumors of Twitter takeover bids have been swirling.
In December, Twitter said it raised around $200 million in a partnership with venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers putting the site’s value at around $3.7 billion. Last month, Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen’s venture capital outfit invested $80 million in Twitter.
Although Stone contends that Twitter will not be going public and that JPMorgan & Chase will not get any action, CEO Dick Costolo was not so quick to rebuff rumors that Facebook might buy out the site. When asked at the Mobile World Congress if Facebook planned to buy the site, Costolo chose to remain mum, revealing that there may be something behind the rumor.
Stone admitted that Twitter held talks with Facebook "a couple of years ago ... (but) nothing formal since and it's mostly rumors all the time."
As far as making money, Stone says, "We make money. We earn money from a suite of products - We have promoted tweets ... promoted accounts, all of which are in our advertising mechanism," said Stone.
"We are just really getting started. We have some internal forecasts (for advertising revenue for 2011) but nothing is really shared right now. We don't need to set the world record or anything like that."
Although Twitter doesn't reveal financial earnings, research firm eMarketer said in January that site generated an estimated $45 million from advertising in 2010 and was expected to generate about $150 million this year.